6 Best Reasons to Travel with a Smartphone

There’s been a lot of buzz recently in the mobile market. The introduction of the Droid by Verizon, price and ad wars by Verizon and AT&T and the recent unveiling of the Google Nexus One. This has all meant a lot for businesses and people who rely so heavily on being connected at all times, but what does it mean for travelers. For years traveling meant leaving your entertainment systems, laptop and phone at home and enjoying your leisure time away from these items that our lives center around. However, things have changed. That was before you could watch your favorite television show, download a movie, read a book, update your Facebook and order food, all from one device. If anything, in today’s culture, your phone is the one thing you can’t leave home without. I finally after much talk recently got a smartphone, the Droid Eris from Verizon. I did quite a bit of research and honestly picked the phone because it did everything I needed a phone to do, and more, plus it was pretty cheap. I have to say that even though I haven’t traveled with it yet, it’s already made my life much simpler and mainstreamed. With all these things taken in mind, I’ve included below the five reasons you should have a smartphone while traveling.
  1. You never know when an emergency will come up. Whether you have a smartphone or that old Nokia that you’ve had for five years and works like a charm, it’s important to have a way to easily find and reach emergency contacts when the time comes. We never expect or plan for emergencies, but the fact remains that they come up. If for no other reason, this is why you should have a smartphone while traveling. Traveling with a smartphone comes in handy when you can browse the web for that one emergency service that the police or fire department simply cannot provide.
  2. You are always in touch. Smartphones allow you to do more than just receive or receive calls! With smartphones, you can use messengers. You can also read your physical mail with your phone. Any advanced virtual mailbox service provides the ability to download an app on Android or iOS.
  3. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Yes a smartphone can even help you find a bathroom. Everyone knows that there are always bathrooms around when you don’t have to go, but no place has a public restroom when you just can’t hold it. The mobile application SitOrSquat helps you find public restrooms near you and even includes user reviews.
  4. When you want to find the real Ray’s Pizza. Everyone has their opinions and preferences about their favorite smartphone, but the same can be said about them all, that they all make it easy to find things such as local restaurants or hotels and reviews on them. There are a plethora of applications for the Droid, Iphone and BlackBerry that can help you find the best restaurant near you and pull up reviews to help your decision process. It’ll even help you find the original Ray’s Pizza in New York.
  5. Keep a budget. It can often become cumbersome to keep up with your budget while traveling, especially if you’re using a credit card everywhere you go. You may start off well, but by the time you get home you realize that although you had a nice vacation, it’s at the expense of an insurmountable credit card bill. There are a variety of mobile applications that can help you do things such as track mileage if traveling on business, submit expense reports and track your beer tab at each pub.
  6. Stay productive.  No matter what kind of business you’re in and no matter what smartphone you have, smartphones can either increase or decrease productivity while traveling. There are a variety of applications and tools that can keep professionals working, from writers to accountants to business owners. WpToGo for the Droid for example can help writers stay up-to-date on their website content and blog by allowing them to write and publish straight from their Android phone.
Before going out to your mobile store and buying your first smartphone, be sure to do your research and not get carried away with getting a smartphone. They can easily make you less productive and can often rack up charges when traveling. On a recent conversation on Twitter with fellow Uptake Writer Kayt Sukel from the Travel Savvy Mom, she stated the importance of educating yourself about roaming and international charges when traveling. Kayt stated: “A lot of cool apps require data transfer, and it can be $20/5MB or so. It adds up very quickly in foreign countries”. Before you know it, you have a $1,000 phone bill on your hand when you return from your trip. There are many other useful ways to use a smartphone while traveling, but I hope these are some of the best five reasons you find to use your mobile device of choice while traveling.