How can you stay more productive while on the road this holiday season, even if you don’t consider yourself a technology expert? It’s a great question, and one we’re proud to have teamed up with our friends at Hyatt Place to answer as part of its Seamless Travel Series. If you’re a road warrior hoping to stay up to speed, take a look at the following video from an appearance on The Daily Buzz TV show in which we provide some handy hints, tips and expert advice, as well as suggestions about the latest and greatest new gadgets and apps, that can help high-tech travelers stay ahead of the curve.
Also, a few simple ideas to keep in mind right from the get-go:
- Get connected to cloud computing services so you can share your desktop and files online virtually anytime, anywhere you travel from nearly any device
- Pack extra batteries, recharging energy cases, and long-lasting laptops along on your travels so you don’t have to worry about your plans short-circuiting last-minute
- Grab apps that can help you manage your flight schedules, reservations, and appointments on the fly
- Book a hotel that with lots of amenities – for example, Hyatt Place doesn’t just offer WiFi… it offers free, dependable, high-speed WiFi throughout the hotel, as well as in-room USB ports and lots of comfortable workspaces if you need them. If you forget your phone charger, you can also grab a loaner unit from its Odds & Ends program.
- Pack multi-purpose gizmos like eReaders that let you run apps that let you perform all sorts of functions for work and play, so you only have to cram one gadget into your carry-on – that way, you can stay productive or access music, movies and games to unwind with right from the same screen.
As you can see, technology can make life much simpler and more seamless for today’s traveler. All it takes to get synced up these days? A few minutes of your time, which high-tech solutions can help you get back 10X over with little effort – call them the holiday gift that keeps on giving.
Oh how we love technology! Thanks to the efficiencies smartphones, tablets and other devices offer, business travel has never been more seamless for today’s working professional – especially during peak vacation season when your mind may be traveling to things outside of work. Just recently when we were on business in Chicago, for example, I stayed at the Hyatt Place Chicago/River North and experienced their high-tech hotel rooms. It just took a quick recharge on a nearby USB port, connection to the free Wi-Fi network and tap of a finger to quickly access files. Today it’s unbelievably easy to stay up-to-date and in touch!
As the Hyatt Place Seamless Travel Series’ Tech-spert, I was recently asked “what are the best apps to help you travel more smoothly” during a Twitter party with #TravelSkills. With hundreds of free or cost-affordable apps available for download now, you can almost manage the whole travel process from your phone. From booking your hotel room and dinner reservations to your scheduling your next flight and car service pickup, it’s important to know the best ones to utilize. For your convenience and entertainment, here are some of my favorite travel apps of all time, designed to help road warriors make the most of every trip:
No matter how complex your travel itinerary gets, you can easily manage it with this tool from most smartphones and tablets. You can track and organize your flight schedules, hotel bookings and car reservations, or pull up weather forecasts, maps and more. For business travelers, you can even use it to juggle appointments, so you don’t end up at showing up at the right time at the wrong client’s office.
Need to create a to-do list, share audio clips and images, or simply want to clip and save an interesting article you spotted for reading later? Try Evernote, an online organization app that lets you save notes, files, images, and websites you’ve bookmarked, then synchronize them across devices and access the information from anywhere. Among the best ways to keep current projects, it plays the role of virtual assistant, helping you cut through the clutter and more effectively manage your digital life.
Hunting for a hotel while on the road? Hyatt’s multilingual mobile app for Android and iPhone devices lets you book stays at hundreds of Hyatt hotels, including my personal favorite – Hyatt Place, which offers free Wi-Fi, USB recharging stations and a comfy work areas in roomy rooms specifically designed for business travelers. You can also manage reservations right from the app and access local maps or driving directions, and you can even handle check-ins and checkouts right from your pocket.
Great for getting work done while sprinting between appointments, this handy speech recognition app translates your voice into text, so you can speak your texts or emails for later use in seconds. This is also a handy way to get ideas and thoughts down on virtual paper. The next time you’re sitting at the airport and inspiration strikes, try rattling it off before you forget – you may be surprised at how brilliant a solution you’ve come up with later.
If you’re a working parent, you know how difficult it can be to stay on top of everyone’s schedule, especially while traveling. Snap One’s suite of cloud (online) apps helps solve the problem by letting you securely and privately share contacts and calendars with your family, as well as bring your files, photos, videos and documents wherever you travel. You can essentially bring your desktop along on any trip and send snapshots and videos to family back home.
Need to pickup a few common phrases for a trip overseas (Where’s the bathroom? orWhere can I find the best local restaurant?)? Rosetta Stone’s travel-friendly app helps you brush up on various languages to easily translate dialogue or practice your pronunciation. There’s also a desktop version that offers live chats and group activities so you can quickly go from flustered to fluent.
Numerous apps from FaceTime to Google Hangouts make it possible to easily videoconference with clients and colleaguesfrom a variety of gadgets. But Skype remains among the most widely popular solutions for mobile meetings or phoning back home to say helloin realtime. Suitable for both personal and professional use, it provides a free and seamless solution for video chats, so you can enjoy some face-to-face time with clients and coworkers, and – wherever you travel – be there to tuck your kids in and say goodnight.
This post was sponsored by Hyatt Place as part of its Seamless Travel Series. The opinions are my own and based on my experience.
Technology for parents & kids: Hints, tips, online safety strategies & more.
Adapt to survive and thrive! That’s the motto of today’s tech-centric world, and families can heed that advice by taking advantage of the latest digital solutions available. After all, technology hasn’t just transformed the way we communicate, educate and entertain ourselves. It’s also opened up a world of connectivity and convenience for today’s family.
Luckily for those managing a modern household (wait: when did the four year-old learn to use our smartphone?), balancing both real and digital life doesn’t have to be difficult either. All you have to do is tap into the power of the cloud – a.k.a. online services and solutions – to stay on top of your day and everyone’s schedule.
Case in point: A variety of new high-tech tools make it easy to connect the pixilated dots by putting everything you need, from photos to calendars and phone numbers, in one place and synchronizing data across all of your family’s devices. Using these cloud services – accessible from virtually any Internet-connected gadget – you can easily login and share contacts and calendars with loved ones, or access songs, snapshots or videos nearly anytime, anywhere. But the beauty here isn’t just the ability to keep everyone on the same page, or easily share all your favorite stuff with friends and family. It’s that you can use cloud services in unexpected ways to keep in touch with loved ones, and keep up with life’s thrilling twists and turns. In essence, wherever you travel, your family travels with you – and so does all of your favorite stuff.
What makes these online software applications so handy, especially for those of us on the go, isn’t just their versatility. (You can securely store and pull down everything from chart-topping tunes to book reports to home videos from Internet-connected devices on-demand.) It’s the fact that as a parent, you can also backup everything in one secure spot where it’s easy to grab and share, and manage and monitor family life online.
For example, Snap One provides a handy method for sharing contacts and calendars or storing all of the stuff that matters most to you online, so you can easily grab it as needed or get it back if lost. The cloud service’s apps also provide a helpful way to stay on top of kids’ comings and goings, protect your family’s privacy, and enjoy greater peace of mind.
Looking to provide your family with a convenient way to stay organized, safe, and stay up to date? Maybe it’s time you put your head in the cloud. Here are a few handy tips that can help you start putting the best that this technology has to offer to work for you and your children- and putting your increasingly hectic schedule back together.
Want to put all of your favorite files at your fingertips wherever you travel, so no one “accidentally” leaves homework lying around, misplaces the babysitter’s phone number, or forgets to bring grandma those photos she keeps asking for? Cloud storage solutions (which can archive data online so it’s accessible anytime, anywhere) make it easy to take contacts, calendars and files wherever you go. Back-up your data to the cloud and not only are secure copies readily available to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family on-demand, they’re also available to berestored in minutes if data should ever get corrupted, or should you ever lose your smartphone or tablet. Inside tip: setting devices to automatically back-up information, especially at times when you’re not using them (e.g. overnight), can help ensure that your data is always up-to-date, and that it’s always nestled safely in the cloud. Oh, and if you’re headed somewhere sunny this Spring? For fun, try setting up your devices to send vacation snapshots up to an online private area that you can share with friends and family, so they can keep up with all your travels.
Get it Together
The average high-tech household owns nearlya dozen different devices – and we’re all using an increasing variety of mobile and desktop solutions to connect. To stay organized and on top of your digital life, consider using a cloud solution, which can unite your family’s favorite files and information in one handy spot. (And that are easily visited whether you’re using a tablet, PC, Mac, iPhone, or Android or Windows Phone device.) That way, you can synchronize contacts, calendars and files across a full range of gadgets, and provide your family with access to all of your favorite photos, songs and videos in one convenient online hub.
A great way to start Spring-cleaning this season: Organize documents, photos, phone numbers and more online, then watch as clutter quickly clears across your family’s full range of devices. If you’re a parent, you’ll especially want to consider personal clouds, e.g. those Snap One provides, designed specifically for families.
To get more from solutions like these, try using them not just to manage your family’s data, but also track kids’ real-world comings and goings, and/or browsing habits.
As increasingly mobile and connected as today’s kids are, many parents are looking to technology to provide greater peace of mind. Be sure to take advantage of the parental controls built into Internet-connected devices and operating systemsto keep tabs on kids’ online activity, filter out inappropriate content, and block unwanted calls. Naturally, you’ll also find them built into many popular cloud applications as well. These tools can help you keep track of where kids are at in real-life, and where they’re hanging out online, without having to helicopter over them.
Using the parental controls built into family-oriented cloud solutions like Snap Secure (which offers many handy safeguards) doesn’t just provide the ability to monitor call and text history, track Internet browsing and block specific phone numbers either. It also allows you to pinpoint your children’s location at any given moment, receive alerts when kids step out of preset safety zones, and setup quick response calls in case there’s an emergency. Spring break is a fun time, but if you’re a parent, it pays to make sure your kids are enjoying they’re time in Orlando as agreed, not Cancun.
Viruses and malware are among today’s fastest-growing online threats on mobile and desktop devices and are a huge concern for Android users in particular. Actively guard against them by being careful about what you click on, which sites you browse, and not opening attachments from unknown or unexpected sources. Worried that a pesky infection may be going around? Be sure to setup automatic antivirus software scans – and to keep your software safeguards up to date on the latest updates (i.e. defenses). Cloud solutions such as SnapSecure, which employs the #1 ranked Bitdefender antivirus solution, help provide a further line of defense, letting you remotely schedule virus scans from your smartphone, or even wipe data from lost devices.
Of course, it’s also important to keep your personal information private. Always be careful of what you share with others online, and don’t assume privacy settings are set by default. The nice part about personal clouds, which we discussed earlier: you can quickly and easily set them up to provide access to those you trust – and prevent access by those you don’t.
To get the most from the cloud, don’t forget to enjoy the freedom (and fun) it brings. Clearly, online apps can help us be safer and more productive, but did you know that these solutions can also entertain (and soothe the savage toddler) as well? Just one example: Using streaming media solutions such as Snap Play, which let you store and access your music library or enjoy custom playlists from virtually anywhere, it’s easy to bring the party with you wherever you go. (You can even listen to all your iTunes music on an Android device.) Put your favorite albums and songs in the cloud, and not only can you save storage space on your computer or smartphone,you can beam your favorite tunes down on-demand, and enjoy them whenever, wherever, no matter if you’re at a picnic or out for a afternoon jog. Plus, there’s always the added bonus of being able to pull up a movie for Mom and Dad as needed – or a cartoon, if a little peace and quiet is even more needed instead.
As you can see, cloud services provide a great complement to the technology and devices you already know and love. So why worry about whose turn it is to pick up the kids (you did remember to get them from school today, right?), when you can put all your family’s calendars, contacts and most important files just a click or tap away?
Get the whole family connected on a cloud solution to stay connected, organized and safe!