8 tech tips for travelers

Blue-domed churches at sunset, Oia, Santorini
Blue-domed churches at sunset, Oia, Santorini (Getty Images)

Travel is back in a big way.

After years of postponing travel plans over pandemic concerns or just plain wanting to avoid the hassle of getting on a plane or hitting the road, more and more people are ready to get out of town again.

For those who’ve been bitten by the travel bug, we’re taking advantage of the latest in technology to give you advice for a smooth sailing (or flying or driving) holiday.

So make those reservations and pack a bag. We’ve got some traveling to do.

Online check-in for flights

While the option to check in online before a flight has been around for years, not everyone is on board. This just might persuade those on the fence: Skipping the airline counter can save loads of time. And major carriers typically close check-in 45 to 90 minutes before a flight, so there’s risk of missing your plane. Plus, the earlier you check in online, the better your options are for seat selection.

Check airport security wait times

Waiting in security lines at the airport is inevitable, but with a little bit of planning, travelers can hedge their bets with tech. The MyTSA app has detailed information on terminal checkpoints, TSA PreCheck lanes and any FAA-issued delays. There are also historical data available, so passengers can plan their flights with peak security wait times in mind.

Mobile hotspot

Your dream getaway may be relaxing in a remote cabin or a road trip to the Grand Canyon, but weak or no internet connection can be a nightmare. Mobile hotspot devices are the answer. Essentially acting as little modems, your devices share your cellular network connection to access the internet. All major phone providers offer mobile hotspot solutions and plans.

Portable battery pack

To keep your devices juiced up, always have cables and a portable battery pack (power bank) at your disposal. Even a small, candy-bar-sized one is enough to get you out of a jam. But if you’re looking for higher capacity and output, there are plenty of options that range from standard TSA-approved to off-the-grid powerhouses that will go for days.


A virtual private network (VPN) is a powerful tool to keep you secure and anonymous while browsing the web. VPN will protect your data, especially if you’re using a public Wi-Fi. It also allows access to streaming services, like Netflix or Amazon Prime, that may not be available at your location.

Back up your life to the cloud

Phones and laptops can be lost or stolen, putting at risk that great shot of you climbing Machu Picchu or standing atop the Eiffel Tower. That’s why it’s a good idea to back up your pictures and videos — as well as important documents, a list of contacts and copies of IDs and credit cards — to the cloud.

The Ibiza citadel (Dalt Vila) is built around the castle
The Ibiza citadel (Dalt Vila) is built around the castle (Getty Images)

International roaming charges

Before embarking on that trip to the North Pole, better make sure your smartphone will even work there. Check with your carrier on international roaming activation, which can get pricy with high usage. Some phone companies offer special plans for international travel that allow unlimited talk, text and data for a few dollars a day.

Translator apps

Planning a trip to Rio but don’t speak Portuguese? Let an electronic translator do the talking for you. Google Translate is one of the most popular (and free) options out there but may not be practical on the fly. Some apps will translate in near real-time or even translate text in images, which could come in handy when ordering cocktails in Ipanema.

The information included within this article is AT&T-sponsored content written by a Currently Media editorial contributor. The statements in this article do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies or opinions of AT&T.