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Smartphone travel apps
20 Jul

Genius Tech Developments That Make Travel Easier in 2022

6 Exciting Tech Developments That Make Travel Faster, Safer and Easier

Smartphone travel apps

It seems that technology is making great strides in all fields at a faster and faster pace.  Travel is no exception – there are several new tech developments that every traveler should know about to make their journey easier, safer, and faster.  The launch of new apps and QR codes makes it clear that a smartphone is now the most important item to have at hand every time you go traveling.  The smartphone, whether it be Apple or Android, has become essential for managing almost every aspect of your journey.  Let’s take a look at 6 new tech developments in 2022 that you’ll be glad you’ve taken along on your trip.

We’ll let you know about:

#1 – Mobile Immigration app will let you zip  through Immigration in the USA for US citizens
#2 – Renew your passport online – no more trips to the Post Office and lengthy forms
#3 – Best tools to use when your flight has been unexpectedly canceled
#4 – Never wait in a long TSA check-in line again with this new app
#5 – Get voice-to-voice translations on the fly
#6 – New Health Apps to keep you well while away

Mobile Passport Control – lets you skip the long Immigration lines at US airports

Effective as of February 1, 2022, “Mobile Passport Control (MPC) allows eligible travelers to submit their passport and customs declaration information through a free, secure app on their smartphone or another mobile device. The use of MPC streamlines the traveler’s entry process into the United States by reducing passport control inspection time and overall wait time. ”  This works by allowing you to complete your declaration forms on your phone, take a selfie and submit.  You will then receive a time-limited QR code to let you use the special line for MPC passengers.

Online Passport Renewals

We all dread the process of renewing our passports – there are the lengthy forms, passport photo, and sending your old passport off at the post office and then waiting and waiting for the renewal to arrive.  That may soon all be a thing of the past with the introduction of online passport renewal.  Now in development and in trial rollouts with a number of government agencies and employees, the future looks bright for a faster and easier way to renew your passport.  Reports are that the entire renewal process including passport photo and payment will be able to be accomplished online.  Stay tuned, sometimes government initiatives take some time!

Updated Strategies For Dealing With Unexpected Flight Cancellations

We’ve all seen the news videos (or experienced it ourselves) when unexpectedly flights are canceled and the airport turns to chaos as everyone tries to get rebooked on another flight at the same time.  This is when you’re going to be very glad that you booked directly with the airline and that you’re traveling light and did not check baggage.  Should you get in the ticket line, call your travel agent, or try calling the airline directly?  Yes, yes, and yes, but there are additional strategies to know about as well.

If you can get in a relatively short line at the ticket counter do it immediately.  If not, you should know that the self-service check-in kiosks at most airlines can rebook your flight right there.  If you have airline club memberships, head there for help.  You should have both the FlightAware app and your airline’s app on your smartphone and notifications turned on.  Other options are to phone the international customer service number that can be far less busy (usually Canada is the easiest choice).  If none of these work, power up your phone and reach out through your airline’s chat feature and/or on Twitter.

If you end up with a very long delay, you might try using the DayUse app to find a short-term day rate at a nearby hotel which will be WAY more comfortable than seats at the airport!  Airline lounges often have a day rate you can purchase even if you are not a member – this might be the time to consider it.  Also if you’ve experienced a delay of more than 4 hours, use an app to easily apply for compensation.

New App Lets You Avoid the Long TSA Screening Line

It seems we have to arrive at the airport earlier and earlier just to wait in the TSA screening line and hopefully not miss our flight.  How great would it be if you could make a reservation for a place in line and walk right up to TSA screening?  Thanks to a new app, WhyLine, this is becoming a reality.

The folks at WhyLine pledge that you will be able to avoid waiting in line at the airport, restaurants, doctor’s offices and more.  Simply download the app, make a reservation in advance and then just show up at the designated time with your QR code on your phone.  This service is currently offered at 5 major airports and is expanding to others.

Instant Voice-to-Voice Translations

Once you’ve arrived at your foreign destination, you’ll need to communicate easily.  Say farewell to translation cheat sheets and cumbersome type-in translation apps, and get to know the iTranslate Voice 3 app.  This app lets you speak into your phone and receive a translated voice response in any of dozens of languages.  You can also receive speak-to-text responses if you prefer.  For reading signs and menus, Google Translate is another great translation app.

Good Health in Your Pocket

I’ve just been reading a very interesting book, The Future You: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Help You Get Healthier, Stress Less, and Live Longer, by Harry Glorikian This book details how artificial intelligence is enabling data collection and analysis resulting in the development of useful health and lifestyle apps, and advances in medicine.  Mr. Glorikian highlights many apps that can assist us to maximize our health while at home and while traveling.

For instance, you now have a doctor in your pocket if you have added a telemedicine app to your phone.  Rather than trying to find a doctor while traveling, with the right preparation, you should be able to have a virtual visit with your own doctor – or at least one who speaks your language.   There are health apps to store your medical records including all the medications you take.  Smartwatch apps and small devices to pre-screen your symptoms including heart rate, EKG, blood oxygen levels, body temperature, and blood pressure to name a few.

Be sure to investigate available health apps for your phone before you leave on a distant trip.  It’s also a must to speak with your cellphone provider to be sure you are on an appropriate plan for voice and data use in a foreign country.

The development of digital tools to help us travel well is increasing.  The future is bright for business and leisure travelers to journey with less stress and more convenience.  Safe travels everyone!