No-stress travel with gadgets
Many families are now setting their sights on Christmas and year-end vacations. Once they hit the road or line up at airports, bags will be stuffed with smartphones and tablets and — most likely — a rat's nest of chargers and cables.
As much as we love visiting family and friends, traveling during the holidays can be maddening. You can smooth out some of the bumps by keeping your tech gear safe, powered up and organized.
Before you leave, make sure your gadgets are passcode-protected and loaded with apps that will help you track and find them in case they get lost or stolen.
For iPads and iPhones, there's the free Find My iPhone. Android users can try Lookout Mobile Security.
The nice thing about these apps is they allow you to remotely wipe the gadgets in a worst-case scenario. You don't want to risk sensitive information falling into the wrong hands, which could expose you to identity theft.
Set your gadgets to automatically back up to the cloud. You might receive some important documents or email that you wouldn't want to lose. You'll also be taking lots of family photos and videos. Gadgets can be replaced; memories can't.
You'll probably be leaving gadgets and valuables behind when you travel. It's a comfort to be able to monitor your home while you're away. An inexpensive indoor security camera will keep an eye on things. You can watch your home remotely via iOS- and Android-compatible apps.
We ask a lot of our gadgets. They're cameras. They're portable GPS units. They entertain us with games and movies. Some people even use them to communicate! All of that drains batteries fast.
If you're reading a book and need to keep a little juice in a gadget until you can get to an outlet, tweaking a few settings will help conserve power.
Turn off Bluetooth if you're not using a headset or wireless keyboard. If you're nowhere near a Wi-Fi connection or don't need one at the moment, toggle that off, too.
Lower screen brightness or use the gadget's auto-brightness feature. Turn off or limit notifications and location services to only essential apps.
Power Saver Mode for Android will manage these power-sapping features for you. Going into airplane mode on an iOS gadget instantly shuts off the cellular connection, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and location services.
Here's a bonus tip: If you're traveling out of the country, airplane mode is a great way to keep your gadgets from connecting to cellular services at international roaming rates. Your phone bill will thank you!
Portable recharging/backup battery gadgets and battery cases for phones and tablets will give your gadgets a few extra hours of useable life. You might have e-readers and other gadgets that need to charge through mini USB cables. Bring an adapter that turns a wall outlet into a multiport USB charging station.
There's nothing worse than arriving at a destination and then spending hours untangling all your gadget power cables! Fortunately, there is an easy solution. Grab some twist ties for a few bucks. Then roll up your cables and tie them to keep them in order.
Email Kim Komando at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scots reject independence from United Kingdom in historic vote
- Rossi: The series that will define these Pirates
- It’s not a small world after all: Global population estimated to soar
- Google grants teachers’ school supply wishes
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Sutersville principal’s comments taken out of context, district claims
- Pirates hold on to beat Red Sox, complete 3-game sweep at PNC
- Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins camp
- 2 New Kensington buildings burn downtown
- Steelers’ Polamalu relying on smarts as physical skills decline
- Pitt star running back Conner adjusting to higher profile this year