Are you traveling soon? 5 smart tech steps to take before hitting the road

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Traveling now means that your tickets, maps, hotel, rental car, etc. are all stored on your phone. But what if that disappears ? Here’s how to find your phone when it’s lost, even if the battery is dead.

The other major telephone emergency? Your battery is flat and you have to leave for the airport. Whoops. Tap or click to discover smart ways to optimize your battery life.

Travel can be stressful, but these hacks can make a huge difference.

1. Keep a (digital) eye on your stuff

Digital trackers help you keep an eye on your valuables and find them if you lose something. I put an Apple AirTag on my dog’s collar, my key rings, my bike and in my cars. Here are 10 clever ways to use an AirTag.

AirTags use signals from other iPhones to determine where they are. Using the Find My app, you can see the location of each AirTag associated with your account. It’s a good idea to throw one in your checked baggage. This way you can see if your bag is reaching its destination.

But the AirTag will be worthless when your luggage goes through the airport’s indoor conveyor belt system. There are usually not enough iPhones nearby for the AirTag to work. But once your luggage is out of there, you will know exactly where it is.

Want to grab some now while you think about it?

  • Apple AirTags are ideal if you have an iPhone, Mac or iPad.
  • The Tile 2 pack is Android compatible and has a tracker for your luggage and one to slip into your wallet.

THERE IS AN APP FOR THAT: 10 Best Travel Apps to Plan Your Next Adventure

2. Track flights with ease

Here’s a handy iPhone tip if you have a family member or friend picking you up from the airport. Send an SMS with the airline you are traveling with and your flight number, for example “Southwest Airlines 1175”.

The person can tap the message to open a flight tracker. They can see flight progress and estimated time of arrival without searching for the flight online or on a tracking site. Easy!

If your ride is using an Android, they can search the web for airline and flight number to see the same information.

This travel hack is awesome! Uber has a new way to have a car waiting for you when you land. Your Uber driver will track your flight. Here’s my 60 second tip on how it works.

Get the latest data breach and security news as it happens. Sign up for my free email alerts.

3. Get those photos on your phone

There are essential photos I have on my phone. In the worst case, you lose your wallet. It will be much easier to get home if you have photos of your essential documents.

Make sure to include at least your license, your passport and your health insurance card.

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

  • Open the Notes app. Create a new note by clicking on the icon that looks like a square with pen located at the bottom right of the screen. Press the camera icon at the bottom of your new note and select Scan documents.

On an Android, take photos and mark them as favorites in your photo gallery or use the scan feature in Google Drive:

  • Open the Google Drive app. Press the plus button in the lower right corner.
  • Faucet Analysis and allow access to your camera if you haven’t done so already. Follow the on-screen prompts to take and save your photos.

Pro Tip: I also recommend that you save your identification documents as PDF files and save a copy to your iOS books, Android e-book app, or even send them to your Kindle. This way you can access it offline. You can also send a copy to your travel partner.

SMART STEP: Take my advice and download these 9 photos you should always have on your phone handy. You will thank me later!

4. Check your rental for hidden spy cameras

It happened to me. I rented a house, settled in and realized how many cameras were watching me. It was very disturbing.

If you’re renting through Airbnb, cameras are allowed in public areas and common areas, but not in bathrooms or bedrooms. They cannot be hidden and must be disclosed in listing descriptions. VRBO completely prohibits indoor cameras, although outdoor cameras are allowed for “reasonable supervision”.

Larger cameras are easy to spot, but anyone can easily hide smaller cameras behind furniture, vents, or decorations. Then there are hidden cameras that can impersonate everything from a Roku to a plug extender. Seriously, you will be shocked when you see these things.

An easy way to spot most types of cameras is to look for the lens reflection. Turn off the lights and slowly scan the room with a flashlight or laser pointer, looking for light reflections. Scan the room from multiple locations, so you don’t miss a camera aimed only at certain locations. Also inspect vents and any holes or gaps in walls or ceilings.

You can also get an RF detector. This gadget can pick up wireless cameras that you might not see.

If you can connect to the rental’s wireless network, a free program like Wireless Network Watcher shows which gadgets are connected. You may be able to locate connected cameras. Just be aware that the owner may have put the cameras on a second network, or they may be wired or record-only types.

If you find an indoor surveillance camera that has not been disclosed to you, pick up the phone and call the police. Tell them you have direct evidence that your landlord is spying on you inside your rental home without your knowledge or permission. Use this exact expression.

Document the situation with videos and photos on your smartphone. Once you have your police report, contact the rental site.

5. Find the most comfortable seat

If you’re tall, you know how important a few extra inches of legroom is on a flight. It can be the difference between being comfortable or cramped for hours on end.

Google Flights is a great way to find the cheapest flight, but you go the extra mile to find the most comfortable seat.

  • Get the Chrome browser extension called Legroom for Google Flights. When using Google Flights, you’ll also see how much legroom per seat per flight you’ve selected.
  • Another solid option is SeatGuru.com. Enter your airline and flight number, and you’ll see a map of the best seats with the most legroom. No download required.

Have you tried any of those “buy now, pay later” services? Many buyers love this setup, but now it will show up on your credit report. Speaking of shopping, you can buy a vertical mouse or life-saving headphones. (Yes: One gamer’s headphones saved him from a stray bullet.) In this episode, I’ll share AirTag news and a new Zoom trick that lets you talk with your hands.

Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

What questions do you have about the digital lifestyle? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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