Between airports, train stations, and extended relatives’ homes, it’s hard to anticipate where you’ll be at any given moment during your holiday travels—let alone how you’ll stay in touch with family members, friends, and colleagues along the way. Here are 11 better ways to stay connected with the people who count when you’re on the go.
1. INVENT YOUR OWN HASHTAG.
Are you a social media enthusiast? Consider coming up with a personalized hashtag (for example: JohnsonFamilyXmas15) and using it to tag relevant 140-character posts. That way, other social media users can get a feel of what you’re up to this holiday season.
2. PRINT OUT YOUR OWN ITINERARY.
Before you embark on your travels, consider creating a personalized trip itinerary and emailing it to everyone who needs to know your whereabouts. Make sure to include your flight times and numbers, which dates you’ll be gone, and where you’ll be staying. Also list multiple ways to contact you, should the situation arise.
3. PURCHASE YOUR OWN POWER STRIP.
Here’s an annoying (yet all-too-frequent) traveler’s dilemma: You’re equipped with your phone, laptop, and tablet, but you only have access to a lone airport outlet. Remedy this situation by purchasing a miniature power strip. It’s portable, you can plug it in anywhere, and it allows you to charge multiple gadgets with ease.
4. CARRY AN ADAPTER.
If you’re traveling abroad for the holidays, you’ve likely purchased a power adapter to power up your personal communication devices. However, you might be traveling domestically, only to discover that your hotel room (or your mother-in-law’s old Victorian home) is sans the three-prong outlet you need for your laptop. Buying an emergency all-in-one adapter and keeping it in your suitcase is a smart strategy to stay plugged in—no matter where you’re going.
5. COMPILE A PRIVATE DIGITAL FAMILY ALBUM.
If you’re wary of posting snapshots of your kids on social media but want to share precious holiday moments with loved ones, consider services like Tweekaboo. The mobile app allows you to create private photo and video albums on the go and share them with family members and friends.
6. HOLD REMOTE CONFERENCES.
Business sometimes blurs with personal time—even when you’re on vacation. If you have a few urgent work meetings you can’t skip but still want to head home for the holidays, think about asking your boss if you can use Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Zoom, or other video conferencing tools to stay in the loop.
7. GET A MESSAGING APP.
If you’re not too keen on wading through an inbox full of emails, think of using a group messaging system like Slack. It archives all of your interactions, it works on almost any device, and it allows you to also have quick, real-time exchanges with individuals while still participating in conversations with a larger group.
8. PROVIDE YOUR OWN WIFI.
Traveling somewhere without wireless Internet? You can buy a mobile broadband modem, which connects your computer to a cellular data network. This way, you’ll get Internet access on the go—and you won’t have to deal with a local coffee shop’s inconsistent connection.
9. RESEARCH YOUR MOBILE PLAN.
If you’re traveling abroad, think about how you’ll be using your phone. Will you be making calls or sending texts? Do you need WiFi? Double-check to see what your mobile plan covers, as some offer unlimited data and texting for no extra charge, or a specified amount for a flat rate.
10. USE SKYPE.
When you’re traveling abroad, downloadable services like Skype allow you to make and receive video calls for free if the party you’re chatting with also has an account. You can also buy Skype credit to make cheap calls to mobile and landline phones around the world.
11. CHOOSE YOUR AIRLINE WISELY.
Many commercial airlines now offer WiFi on domestic or international flights. If it seems like too much work to scope out individual airlines—or if you travel regularly—consider purchasing an unlimited monthly pass that gives you access to WiFi on a variety of planes.
All images courtesy of iStock