5 travel tips using your smartphone camera

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by sobore, Jun 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/5-travel-tips-using-your-smartphone-camera/2744

    The summer travel season is upon us and many smartphone owners will be packing their bags and heading for parts unknown. Traveling is becoming more difficult than ever, especially if your friendly TSA is involved through air travel. Just about everyone has a smartphone, and using these simple tips with the camera can help smooth the vacation experience.

    Snap a picture of any bags you intend to check with the airlines. Hopefully you won’t be one of the many whose bags get misplaced by the airline, but if so it helps if you have a photo of the bag(s) to show them what they should be looking for. This worked for me recently when my bag didn’t appear on the caroussel, and when I showed the attendant the photo of my bag with the blue handle, she remembered taking it to lost and found. I had my bag in a few minutes due to that photo.

    Snap a photo of anything out of the ordinary you pack in checked bags. I have a system where I pack all of the power bricks for my mobile gear in a cable stash. I put this in my checked bag to keep my backpack as light as possible. In the event the bag is lost and a claim needs to be filed, having the photo of the cable stash shows all of the expensive power adapters in one shot. Hopefully you won’t need to replace gear due to a lost bag, but if so make the process easier.

    Take a photo of your hotel room number. In the old days hotels used regular keys with the room number stamped on them so remembering which room was yours was easy. In the world of electronic card keys, the room number is deliberately omitted for security. I could never remember my room number, and started snapping a photo of my room number at the door. Now I just look it up in my photo gallery before heading up to the room.

    Snap your car in the airport lot to remember where you parked. Even worse than forgetting your hotel room number is forgetting exactly where you parked in the airpot lot. The end of a trip when you are tired and anxious to get back home is not the time to be wandering aimlessly in the vast parking lot trying to find your car. Take a couple of photos with your smartphone camera that clearly mark where you parked your car. This can turn a bad travel day into a good one in just a few seconds.

    Take a photo of your hotel to show taxi drivers. If traveling abroad where English is not the native language, communicating with taxi drivers can be a chore. The easiest way to communicate where you are staying is often to show them a picture of the hotel. You’ll be back in your room in no time once they realize where you want to go. Hopefully you’ll remember your room number when you get there.
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Good idea. But unless the agent has seen the bag, there is probably no way to "file" the photo with the missing bag report. It might help fill out the missing bag form, though. Come to think of it, I might just proactively take a picture of all my bags, instead of doing it before a trip.

    I never put the chargers of the gear I need at the destination in my checked luggage. The last thing I want to do is hunt for that rare Nikon or ThinkPad charger when I get to my destination without the bag. Fortunately, nowadays so many things are USB-chargeable that the number of "bricks" is quite a bit reduced compared to five years ago.

    Brilliant. Especially on a recent trip where I stayed at seven Hyatt Places in 10 days I really started to get confused after a while. What would we do without our cellphones? Oh, wait, paper and pen... :)

    Don't really do that, but I do walk around the rental with my camera, often in "movie" mode and capture any scratches and dents before leaving the lot.

    Reminds me of the day of the Japan quake when we were diverted to Osaka (instead of Tokyo) and tried to get to the Hyatt around midnight. Was quite comical of a situation trying to explain to the driver where we wanted to go. iPhone Google Maps helped us show him the general direction and then he recognized that out there the Hyatt was probably where we wanted to go. Not sure if a picture would necessarily help, especially if the hotel isn't a landmark building. Instructions in the local language from the property's website would probably be more helpful.
     
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  3. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    Like HaveMilesWillTravel, I also take photos of my rental cars before leaving the lot. Good idea to photograph all the suitcases. It would make sense for me to simply photograph all of our suitcases at once and just email them to myself so that they are easily accessible from a smartphone or any web browser.

    When touring around an unfamiliar city, I photograph the menu in restaurant windows if I see one that looks good. Then we can recall the name and location if we decide to return later. This was a huge help for one of our dinners in Venice.

    If we try a new wine in a restaurant, I'll often take a photo of the label in order to recall it later.

    I also sometimes photograph a local area map of the subway system or of the map of the local area around a subway stop so that I can review it later, if necessary.
     
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  4. sparxe
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    sparxe Silver Member

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    We often find .jpg files of maps/subways online and upload them to a smartphone ahead of our trips.
     
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  5. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    I have done that, too, and some (most?) cities now have subway apps. In Milan, though, we were not even expecting to have to spend much time on the subway, but had to quickly change train stations when the luggage storage office was closed at our arrival station. So upon entering the subway, I snapped a photo of just the section of the downtown subway area rather than deal with a full map of the entire system.

    Similar for Manhattan: I've printed a small map of just the section of the system that we plan to use and keep that in my pocket rather than have a full foldout map of all of NYC or have to fumble with a smartphone.
     
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  6. FetePerfection
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    May I add snap a photo of your most recent rental car so you remember what you are driving...couldn't for the life of me remember which rental car I had.

    The rest of these tips are great - I've often thought of the luggage photo as mine is very distinct. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  7. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    And not just a side-view photo. Get a photo that includes the license tag. There are all sorts of reasons that it could be needed: hotel check-in asks for it, car gets towed for parking in the wrong place, or you end up in a hotel lot full of similar rental cars. It's not always included on the keychain.
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    For my iPhone I have used several apps that not only provide you with a static map of the public transportation system, but can also give you routings based on start and destination. I'd suspect there are many for Android as well.
     
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  9. sparxe
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    sparxe Silver Member

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    Good idea, but if the apps use the internet, make sure you have data. When we travel overseas, we don't always get a SIM card or a data plan, so we like to have everything we think we need already downloaded.
     
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  10. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Great tips...I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten my hotel room number. So embarrassing to go to the front desk and admit that.
     
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  11. Concerto
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  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    The ones I have used don't need a data connection. The amount of data they need is relatively small and fairly static, so they seem to usually embed the data with the app.
     
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  13. JohnDeere19
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    Yup, I found this out the hard way when I was hoping to rely on tranzilla while in Madrid.
     

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